Prince Harry thanks soldier’s widow

Betty Green, front, and daughter Josie Smith, meet Prince Harry in Monte Cassino
Betty Green, front, and daughter Josie Smith, meet Prince Harry in Monte Cassino
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Prince Harry thanked a widow for her late husband’s loyal service during one of the bloodiest battles of the a Second World War.

Betty Green and her daughter Josie Smith, from Stamford, were invited to a service in Monte Cassino in Italy on May 19.

It was held to remember those who fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944. Betty’s late husband Ronald, who died 10 years ago, was among those who fought.

It is thought more than 55,000 Allied troops were either killed or wounded during the five-month conflict, along with about 20,000 German soldiers.

Prince Harry was a special guest at the service, which marked 70 years since the end of the battle. And Betty and Josie were lucky enough to meet the Prince during a reception after the service.

Josie, who works at Red Lion News in Stamford, said: “It was very nice to meet Harry. He was lovely.

“He really took a long time speaking to the widows. He was interested in what they had to say.”

“Mum was telling him what my dad did during the battle,” added Josie. “It meant a lot that Harry spoke to her.”

The Prince joined veterans, dignitaries, and representatives of the British regiments and forces organisations for the service. He gave a speech of his own, remembering those who lost their lives.

The capture of Monte Cassino was seen at the time by Winston Churchill to be crucial in securing Italy and liberating Rome. But the battle and the tremendous losses the Allies suffered were overshadowed in subsequent years by events on the western front.

Josie said it was important the battle was commemorated. She added: “It’s the forgotten battle. All the people who fought in it were never recognised. But it’s almost the bloodiest battle of the Second World War.”

While they were in Monte Cassino, Jose and Betty placed a poppy on the grave of Albert Walker, from Stamford, who was killed in the battle. His family still live in the town.